Should Canadian citizenship be defined in Canada’s Charter of Rights?

The article includes:

One particularly problematic proposal would revoke the citizenship of “terrorists,” something that appears to have been salvaged from a private member’s bill that failed to pass (for good reason) last year. It would allow Canada to revoke the citizenship of any dual citizen involved in an “armed conflict” in Canada (should we face another Northwest Rebellion, we suppose). It would also open the door to stripping citizenship from any dual citizen convicted of terrorism, treason or spying abroad.

That is effectively creating two-tier citizenship. Canadians who commit crimes should be punished, and they are. But even Canadians behind bars are still Canadians. Loss of citizenship, except in cases of citizenship fraudulently obtained, should not be on the menu of possible punishments, even for the gravest crimes.

It was an earlier Conservative government, that of John Diefenbaker, that changed the law to ensure that Canadians could not be stripped of citizenship. The decision was made in the wake of a particularly damaging scandal: In 1957, former MP Fred Rose was stripped of his Canadian citizenship after being convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Diefenbaker thought that was wrong. Even in the case of treason, he didn’t believe any Canadian should ever again be threatened with a similar fate.

Mr. Alexander should be applauded for his efforts to make Canadian citizenship more meaningful. But turning back the clock, and making loss of citizenship a penalty for some crimes? It goes against what it means to be Canadian.

(See also: 10 ways Ottawa is changing how to become a Canadian citizen)

This new provision raises two interesting points:

1. What is NOT said in this particular editorial is that:

This provision applies only to dual citizens! (Canada isn’t able to leave someone stateless.) Interesting, does this mean, (as was discussed at the MapleSandbox blog) that there are now two classes of Canadian citizens as suggested in the following comment:

This story is very much related to yesterday’s FATCA IGA in that the Tories have now managed to violate the Charter twice in two days. Both yesterday’s news and now this Citizenship reform create tiered Canadian citizenship levels, which are clear Charter violations in each case. If they can strip away the citizenship of naturalized and dual citizens, but not the citizenship of single-nationality, Canadian-born citizens, then that is a clear discrimination based on national origin and is not allowed under the Charter. The FATCA IGA also says that certain citizens can be discriminated against based on nation origin, hence violating the Charter in the same way. Also, who decides what “terrorist” and “extreme cases” mean? Perhaps, they could come to mean troublesome Americans who question out FATCA IGA if we protest these things too loudly! If the Supreme Court of Canada doesn’t strike both of these down, then our Canadian citizenship certificates aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

2. The problem of “citizenship NOT being defined in the constitution:

This demonstrates what happens when citizenship is NOT a constitutionally defined right. Interestingly, S. 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives Canadian citizens the right to enter and leave Canada and the right to engage in the livelihood in any province. But, the Charter itself does NOT define what a Canadian citizen is.

As always, check out the comments.

This is in direct contrast to the 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution that specifically says that those born and naturalized in the U.S. are U.S. citizens. The Supreme Court of the United has ruled (in a case called Afroyim v. Rusk) that the U.S. government cannot strip U.S. citizens of their citizenship without their consent. (A position that Former Canadian Prime Minister Diefenbaker would agree with.)

The reason the CPC want to revoke the citizenship of Dual Canadian citizens convicted of “terrorism” or “treason” is that they want to create a dual class citizenship to differentiate between what they consider “real” Canadians and Canadians who their base deem “not real”. The second reason is that the CPC and their core have a distrust and paranoia about the “liberal” judiciary. It’s not enough that we have laws against terrorism and even treason (even laws against cheating in elections!) – the CPC don’t trust our laws (and don’t respect them either).But then Harper and the CPC have always danced to the beat of a different drummer.

So, when it comes to being born in the U.S., there is “Good News” and “Bad News”:

First, the “Good News”: You are a U.S. citizen.

Second, the “Bad News”: You are a U.S. citizen.

What do you think? Should “citizenship” be defined in a country’s constitution? Should governments be able to strip people of their citizenship (which is what the U.S. was attempting to do prior to the decision in Afroyim)?

Related articles in the news:

 

 

 

The reason the CPC want to revoke the citizenship of Dual Canadian citizens convicted of “terrorism” or “treason” is that they want to create a dual class citizenship to differentiate between what they consider “real” Canadians and Canadians who their base deem “not real”. The second reason is that the CPC and their core have a distrust and paranoia about the “liberal” judiciary. It’s not enough that we have laws against terrorism and even treason (even laws against cheating in elections!) – the CPC don’t trust our laws (and don’t respect them either).But then Harper and the CPC have always danced to the beat of a different drummer.